Continually suppressed year after year, the Pace water polo team will soon break free from its club sport shackles and become a GHSA sponsored sport for the 2012 season. In the past, the Georgia High School Association has refused to sponsor water polo because of its supposed lack of participation and widespread support, even though it is an extremely prevalent sport in California and is sponsored by the IHSA (Illinois High School Association).
Water polo Coach John Ague said, “I have seen water polo emerge as a highly prominent sport in the fall season. Each year more and more schools have taken up water polo because of its benefits for swimmers and divers who need to maintain a high level of fitness during the off season.” The GHSA finally gave in to the water polo players’ cries after receiving a petition with over 10,000 signatures. This petition argued that water polo athletes “practice an equal or greater amount of time than already sponsored sports such as cross country, football, softball, and cheerleading” (the rest of the petition can be viewed at www.ghsa.net/water_polo). Junior Jason Wiener humbly stated, “I have been playing water polo for the past five years, and I believe I have had a heavy influence in the decision of the GHSA to sponsor water polo.” Underclassmen such as freshman Daniel Luetters are excited “to be able to letter in water polo next year.”
This decision has faced its fair share of opponents, as not every fall club has the chance to become a fall sport. For instance, volleyball club member and sophomore Carter Draughon said, “I participate in volleyball club diligently nearly every day and whenever volleyball club does not meet, I practice for hours in my backyard.” The GHSA does not sponsor any men’s volleyball teams, even though there is tremendous support. Sophomore Wilson Crisler said, “I signed up for Gold’s Gym in order to get buff for volleyball season next year, and I deserve a letter jacket for all my hard work.” The ultimate frisbee team took inspiration from the water polo team and created their own petition in hopes to send it to the GHSA and have ultimate frisbee become another GHSA-sanctioned sport. Students can sign this petition by contacting any ultimate frisbee team member. Whether these teams receive their well-deserved accreditation is in the hands of the all powerful GHSA.
By Andrew Harton, Staff Writer ’12